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August 15, 2019

Brazil could be a Leader in Bioenergy Production

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

A study conducted by the International Energy Agency (IEA) indicated that Brazil is the third largest generator of renewable energy and that Brazil had the greatest capacity for future growth in the sector.

Brazil is currently the third largest producer of renewable energy behind China and the United States and Brazil has the biggest potential for expanding the production of bioenergy. The IEA study indicated that Brazil has the best "mix" for generating electricity of all the major producers and that Brazil could generate 45% of its electricity by renewable sources by the year 2023.

According to the Energy Research Company (EPE), which is part of the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME), Brazil is a leading producer of renewable energy due in part its biodiversity and abundance in the agricultural sector. A study by EPE indicated that 43.5% of Brazil's renewable energy comes from cogeneration of electricity from biomass compared to 14% worldwide.

The utilization of biomass for energy generation accounts for 8.2% of the electricity consumed in Brazil compared to an average of 2.3% worldwide. The biggest source of biomass electricity originates in Brazil's sugar mills that utilize the byproducts of sugarcane processing to generate more than enough electricity to operate the mills with the excess electricity sold into the electrical grid.

According to data from the Union of Sugarcane Industries (Unica), the installed electrical generation capacity of Brazil sugarcane mills represents 9% of Brazil's generation capacity. That puts sugarcane mills in fourth position in electrical generation behind hydroelectric, natural gas, and wind generated electricity. The use of sugarcane biomass to produce bioelectricity is part of Brazil's "zero carbon" renewable energy program.